Celebrity Sandwich: Jerry Mai's Saigon Breakfast banh mi

Photo: Chef Jerry Mai, and her son, Harry

The world’s favourite snack has been taken to a new level in lockdown. In 2020, we partnered with Victoria Together to create Celebrity Sandwich, a 10-part DIY video series which captured some of Melbourne’s best chefs whipping up their favourite sandwiches in their own kitchens.

In this episode, Jerry Mai shares her recipe for this Saigon breakfast banh mi, a Ho Chi Minh City breakfast staple.

Ingredients

Makes 2

For the banh mi:

  • 2 banh mi rolls, from a Vietnamese bakery
  • 2 x 100g sirloin or scotch fillet steaks
  • 4 free-range or organic eggs
  • 8 sprigs of coriander
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, quartered lengthways
  • 2 pieces of spring onion, green part only, cut to the length of the banh mi
  • 2 chilies, sliced

Pâté

  • salt and pepper
  • light soy sauce

For the carrot pickle:

  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 1 small daikon, peeled
  • 800ml warm water
  • 400g sugar
  • 500ml white vinegar
  • Butter mayo
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 300ml vegetable oil

Method

Make the carrot pickle first so it has time to pickle overnight. Shred the daikon and carrot in a food processor using the medium disc, or shave them into fine ribbons with a peeler, a sharp knife or a mandolin.

Stir together sugar and warm water until the sugar is dissolved, add the vinegar and pour the liquid to cover the vegetables. Leave the pickle in the fridge overnight.

To make the butter mayo, crack the eggs into a bowl, beat them with a hand mixer, slowing adding the oil with the mixer running until it thickens and looks like soft butter. (The trick here is to add the oil nice and slow in a thin stream; adding too much at once will make it split.)

Now to put it all together. When you’re ready to eat, cook the steaks and egg.

Heat a small pan over a medium heat. (If you have a barbecue or another way you prefer to cook steak, go for it.) Season the steaks well with salt and pepper then fry in the pan with a little oil for 2 minutes on each side (or till they’re cooked how you like them), then remove them from the pan to rest

While the steaks are resting, add more oil to the pan and fry the eggs sunny side-up till the edges are crisp.

To assemble your sandwiches, cut the banh mi lengthways and spread the base with butter mayo and the pâté. Slice the steaks across the grain and add them to the banh mi followed by the egg, cucumber, pickles, coriander, chillies and spring onion. Season with soy sauce, salt and pepper. Enjoy!

When you’re eating a Saigon breakfast, watch out for the runny yolks; they have a habit of escaping from the roll and making their way down your arm.


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